Sitting Together in the Darkness

BayoFrom Bayo Akomolafe of The Emergence Network:

This time, which some call the Anthropocene, disturbs the idea that we can summarily understand everything that is going on, or that such a venture is even desirable. We can study patterns and notice dynamics, but we can also exercise care and be humble about the reach of language and rhetoric – knowing that (as the Yoruba say) “wisdom is like a baobab tree; one cannot fully embrace it.” Continue reading

I Am

Aireys, Early 20sBy Tommy Airey

Note: this was homework assigned by Dr. Lily Mendoza to a beloved community of ethno-autobiographical faith resisters in Detroit, Michigan

I am Southern California branded, but DNA stranded in a blue-eyed tribal scandal, maybe Goth or Vandal—or even a Saxon and Celtic quarrel from long long long ago.

I am the wandering whiteness of Cain, against-the-grain Abraham resisting an abiding city, the peregrini pilgrimage, the wonder voyage, the sign of the cross, always in process. Continue reading

Belovedness

Will O'BrienBy Will O’Brien (right), director of the Alternative Seminary in Philly, PA

*This is the 12th installation of a year-long series of posts from contributors all over North America each answering the question, “How would you define radical discipleship?” We will be posting responses regularly on Mondays during 2019.

Many decades into a vocation of trying to faithfully engage in movements for social justice and peace, I am coming to sense more and more the powerful and radical truth in the simple phrase from the First Letter of John, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). I am utterly convinced that all systematic theologies, all ethics and morality, all spiritualities are subsumed into this daring assertion: God is love. All of the created order is a miracle of love. The human adventure over millennia is the struggle to know and live out our belovedness. The mystery of sin is ultimately the failure to love or to experience belovedness. Jesus the Anointed One embodies love and invites us to a path of love. Continue reading

A Symbol of a Nation

The End of the Myth_JKT.inddFrom Greg Grandin, professor at New York University and author of The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America (2019):

The wall might or might not be built. But even if it remains only in its phantasmagorical, budgetary stage, a perpetual negotiating chip between Congress and the White House, the promise of a two-thousand-mile-long, thirty-foot-high ribbon of concrete and steel running along the United States’ southern border serves its purpose. It’s America’s new myth, a monument to the final closing of frontier. It’s a symbol of a nation that used to believe that it had escaped history, or at least strode atop history, but now finds itself trapped by history, and of a people who used to think they were captains of the future, but now are prisoners of the past.

We’re Not in that World Yet

StevensonIn a New York Times Magazine interview, Bryan Stevenson was asked, “What would the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. think of America if he were alive today?” This was his answer.

When he found out that one in three black male babies born in this country is expected to go to jail and prison, when he saw the level of poverty, when he heard some of the rhetoric that we frequently hear, I think he would be heartbroken. But I also think he would be excited that if he called a meeting, thousands would come. And that’s what has to happen, even without Dr. King — that we have to be willing to make that commitment so that we can create a world where if Dr. King emerged, he would be so proud to say his dream has finally been realized. We’re not in that world yet.

Bryan Stevenson is the author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (2014) and the co-founder of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice (informally known as the National Lynching Memorial).

Bending the Arch: An Interview with Rose M Berger

roseOnce a young woman asked Rose Berger, out of the blue, to baptize her. I watched as right then and there, Rose summoned sacramental power and beauty pouring water and speaking holy poetry. So, when Rose publishes a book of poetry, I pay attention and call upon all of you to heed her cry.          -Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

Bending the Arch, By Rose Marie Berger

RD: It is a heavily annotated poem, can you talk about the relationship between the poetry and the history and information in the back?

RMB: It’s a good question. I just finished reading Micheal O’Siadhail’s The Five Quintets, a 350-page poem examining the Modern era with no endnotes or explanations. It’s a stunning, ground-breaking work. But it requires a lot of work by the reader. Bending the Arch requires a lot from the reader also, but I wanted to lower the bar a little. Make it a little easier and more accessible. There are themes in Bending the Arch that I want readers to explore more on their own. My hope is that the endnotes will encourage readers to dig into the suppressed historical narratives in their own families and regions. Continue reading

The Cross: A Call to Gospel Nonviolence

crucifixion_edilberto-meridaEast Coast Friends!! An announcement from The Alternative Seminary in Philly!

THE CROSS OF CHRIST: A JUSTIFICATION FOR REDEMPTIVE VIOLENCE OR A
CALL TO GOSPEL NONVIOLENCE?

The cross can heal and hurt; it can be empowering and liberating but also enslaving and oppressive … I believe that the cross placed alongside the lynching tree can help us to see Jesus in America in a new light, and thereby empower people who claim to follow him to take a stand against white supremacy and every kind of injustice.” ― James H. Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree

Continue reading